Connecticut Residents: New York State's Hands-Free Grace Period Ends Next Week

WALLINGFORD, CT — Verizon Wireless reminds Connecticut residents that, beginning this week, any motorist traveling in New York State holding a wireless phone to their ear while driving will face fines of $100 - no warnings, no waivers, no excuses. The waiver period, included in the State's hands-free legislation and begun last November, officially ends this Friday, March 1, 2002. Drivers now must use hands-free speakerphones or headsets to talk on a wireless phone while driving on New York State roadways. As the end of the waiver period draws near, Verizon Wireless reminds all wireless phone users to take steps to comply with the law.

"We think educating drivers about how to use wireless phones responsibly while driving will enhance roadway safety for all of us," said Bob Stott, president of Verizon Wireless' New England Region.

Here are some responsible driving tips:

  • Keep in mind that safe driving is always your first responsibility when behind the wheel. For the most economical way to use a wireless phone while driving and comply with the new law, purchase a headset. Prices begin at $14.99 for Verizon Wireless headsets that fit many phone models, even those sold by other wireless providers.
  • Activate your voicemail service if you haven't already, so you won't miss a call if traffic conditions prevent you from answering the phone. You can retrieve your messages later.
  • Program important and frequently dialed numbers into your phone to take advantage of speed dialing and voice dialing features on your phone.
  • Never take notes or write down phone numbers while driving. Rather, pull well off the road to a safe spot or leave yourself a message on your voice mail system.

For consumers in the market for new equipment, a variety of hands-free products are available. The Motorola 270c, for example, comes equipped with a built-in speakerphone and voice activated dialing that allows you to dial a call by simply speaking. The phone can be fastened easily to a car's vent or visor with specially designed clips and removed when you leave the vehicle. No installation or hard wiring is necessary. The 270c currently sells for $149.99 with a two-year service agreement; vent clips may be purchased separately, starting at $19.99.

Hands-free car kits, which provide a cradle for your phone and microphone capability, offer drivers another option for complying with the new law. Hands-free car kits are available for most current model wireless phones and begin at $200 with installation. All company-owned stores feature an accessory wall with a variety of headsets and equipment to make hands-free communication easy and convenient.

For more information on hands-free options, customers can visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store or check out

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